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BMW R69S custom

BMW R69S custom motorcycle by Ritmo Sereno
I’d be a very happy man if this was the sight that greeted me when I opened my garage door on a Saturday morning. Unfortunately, this is not my workshop; it’s that of Ritmo Sereno in Tokyo, a treasure-trove of exquisite vintage machinery. Right now they’re working on this R69S, which is being customized to a client’s specification. The Munich-built R69S had a long production run—throughout most of the 1960s—and was powered by a 594 cc boxer twin putting out 42 bhp. It was not the fastest machine you could buy, but the engineering was state-of-the-art. The motorcycle magazines were enamoured: in 1962, Cycle World said, “Whatever the BMW’s merits in a contest of speed, it is still the smoothest, best finished, quietest and cleanest motorcycle it has ever been our pleasure to ride. To be honest, we think that anyone who would worry much over its performance-potential is a bit of a booby. The R69S is fast enough to handle any encounter, and it has attributes that are, in touring, infinitely more valuable than mere speed.” Ritmo hasn’t revealed the mechanical modifications yet, but the suspension, bars and exhaust system are new. The bike has also been fitted with revised bodywork including a new fairing, fenders, seat and rear cowl. For more pictures of the original—including some with a sidecar fitted, as was common—check out BMBike’s R69S page.

  • Jefferson

    Putting Ritmo Sereno bikes up is practically cheating. Every one of their bikes that I’ve ever seen is my favorite bike in the world at that moment.

  • YJH

    Guys, I am joining the club_the first Ritmo Sereno to come to France, can only be mine (and the second too)

  • Duck

    It is very nice but the only part of that bike that could be R69S is the frame. Again, very nice and I too would love to have it but not related to the write up.

  • Duck

    Yeah, and the motor and trans…hate it when my cut and paste cuts better than pastes!

  • BOMBA!

  • megola

    Now that’s one ugly bike. why would any one want to try and race that.BMW the most expensive bike made with the cheapest parts and still using 1913 technology today.

  • sgeechee

    Well, i don`t like the rear section of original frame, but all in all, its a nice bike.
    And asking questions like “why would somebody do this or that” … why not? Motorcycling is all about enthusiasm, and customizing especially, and does not necessarily have something to do with plain rationality.
    Other than that, i think the quality of especially the older BMW types is out ouf question – and if one doesn’t like ’em, he shall just ride something else. Harley-Davidson for example also uses “old” technology, and the idea behind Moto Guzzi is also not the youngest. But it works, just fine.
    Furthermore, it has to be said that BMW surely has also pushed forward some modern technologies which before have never been used in production bikes…telelever, monolever, anti-lock-brakes (or how is it called in englisch?) and so on. Last but not least – the most powerful inline-4 produktion superbike is also not a low-tech product, i think.
    No offense, just my two cents.

  • Don

    Very, very tasty!

    People miss the point when they run bikes like this down on grounds of “old tech”. This is a custom meant to be enjoyed for a look and the pleasure of riding something done just the way one wants it.

    If you want a high zoot ultimate go fast, build one. That is not what this is about.

  • Bowds

    Loving the flowing lines of this bike. The curved pipes match the tank and fairing perfectly. Very nice.

  • the Scrote from Lanzarote

    Do we know whether the exhaust was made in-house (one-off) or if it’s available for ordering? That thing looks amazing. The whole machine does!

  • Stu

    megola hasn’t been paying attention for the last 10 years (at least)

  • megola

    Yes, I have new bike production cost is 10% of selling price and the remaining 90% is for the glue to stick the emblems on.

  • j

    does anyone know a source for that front headlight fairing?

  • Duck
  • tim hanna

    Love that toaster tank. I had the same tank with the hand-painted pinstriping on a 76 R90/6. Miss the old girl.

  • Jon-Lars

    Sorry, tim, that isn’t a toaster tank. It’s a plain old /6 big tank.

  • Tim Hanna

    Must be another Tim Hanna. I didn’t make the comment above and have never owned a Beemer. Strictly Norton Commandos for me.
    For what its worth though I love this thing. I have just written a book about a Kiwi rider called Kim Newcombe. He came second in the 73 500 GP championship – beating Ago. Anyway Kim was instrumental in promoting Koenig engines to the sidecar fraternity and Rolf Steinhausen used one to finally push BMW out of sidecar racing. That said in 73 the short stroke BMW 500 engine was still a race and world championship winner in sidecars. (and in 74)You can’t say BMW didn’t push the envelope. Well you could but you’d be pretty dumb.

  • Slim Chance

    Not much of note here other than the bolt ons. Cut the case to remove the filter assembly. Been done a 1000 times. Fairing and seat pretty common too. Magni style mufflers are sort of cool. Front brake is anemeic looking (and working). I’d have sourced a Fontana, Yamaha TZ drum or Grimeca. Smith-Harin (in Japan) make a nice 4LS brake too.
    That is still a bone stock heavy as hell BMW /2 frame. I would have at least done a Zabrocky conversion.

    Slim Chance